Craniopharyngioma is a low grade (benign) brain tumour which affects people of all ages but predominantly children and young adults. These tumours are found at the base of the brain close to the pituitary gland.

What is a craniopharyngioma?

Craniopharyngioma tumours are most often diagnosed between the ages of 5-15 but could also present at 45-60. Due to their position at the lower part of the brain and close to the pituitary gland, these tumours are associated with specific symptoms such as problems with vision and growth. Other symptoms that may present due to a craniopharyngioma are hydrocephalus, diabetes and personality changes.

How are craniopharyngiomas treated?


The first and main part of standard treatment for these tumours is surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible. In some cases craniopharyngiomas contain fluid or invade neighbouring tissue making it very hard to remove the tumour completely. If this is the case your surgeon may create a passage for the tumour's fluid to drain in the liquid-filled spaces of the brain known as ventricles.


You will also probably have radiotherapy after surgery. In some cases (for example if the tumour is small or it has well defined borders), your specialist may suggest stereotactic radiotherapy or proton beam therapy, which is targeted at the tumour.

Radiotherapy can slow down the growth of the tumour and keep it under control.

Read more about treatment options for craniopharyngiomas:


The types of surgery your child may have and why surgery is not possible for everyone.


How radiotherapy works and what your child can expect during treatment.

Living with a brain tumour

A brain tumour (tumor) diagnosis, whether it is you or a loved one who receives it, is devastating. It can be very difficult to accept and can change your life in many ways.

We offer a range of services to help you cope with a brain tumour diagnosis:

Children and Families Service

Our Children and Families Service offers families of under 18s affected by a brain tumour access to a variety of support.

Teenage & Young Adults Service

Get information about our new service for under 30s affected by a brain tumour diagnosis.

Living with a brain tumour

Find information on side-effects, managing finances and caring for someone with a brain tumour.

Page last reviewed: 11/2015
Next review due: 11/2018

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